Turning WWII technologies into a board game


  • I’ve been working on a rules set for a WWII strategy game. In translating various WWII-era technologies into game play terms, I’ve striven to do several things. 1) Be authentic and historically credible. 2) Maintain a balanced game in which each side has a chance to win. 3) Give each nation its own unique feel; ideally with special advantages possessed by no one else.

    The rules set contains three resources. Production units, or PUs, are used to buy military units. Manpower points, or MPs, are used to purchase infantry. Economic Units, or EUs, are used to build up cities and resource gather points (both of which increase PU income), to research new technologies, and to build and upgrade rail networks.

    Units have multiple combat values, including land, naval, anti-sub, anti-air, and strategic bombing combat values. Fighters are specialized for anti-air. Dive bombers are best at anti-land, and are decent against air and naval targets. Torpedo bombers are best at anti-naval, and are also decent against land, air, and subs. Strategic bombers are specialized for strategic bombing. The main source of defense against strategic bombing raids is your own fighter force. (You use the anti-air value of your fighters and other aircraft to shoot the strategic bombers down.) Many units have multiple hitpoints. The person inflicting the hits decides how they are allocated. If (for example) a tank happens to have four hitpoints, whoever is hitting it will keep applying hits to that particular tank, until it’s dead, before moving onto the next unit to be killed.

    During the war, the rate at which military aircraft were being produced roughly doubled between '42 and ‘44. To replicate this, I’ve incorporated the concept of cities. The higher a city’s level, the more PU income it generates. Cities’ levels can be upgraded through the expenditure of PUs, and downgraded via strategic bombing raids. If a level 0 city receives enough damage, it is permanently destroyed.

    In my rules set, the Allies begin with a 3:1 advantage in PU income. After all cities and resource gather points have been fully upgraded, their advantage will be reduced to 2:1. This is roughly based on military aircraft production during the war. (With 1942 being my rules set’s starting year; and '44 being its ending year.) In addition to having 2 - 3 times as many PUs as the Axis, the Allies also have a very significant advantage in available MPs. Allied infantry forces will tend to be much larger than their Axis counterparts; just as the Allies will tend to have significantly larger numbers of other units than the Axis.

    This means the Axis requires other advantages to achieve game balance. I don’t want to stray too far from historical reality when assigning each nation its advantages and disadvantages. Take Japan for example. I’ve given it advanced torpedoes; thereby benefiting its destroyers, cruisers, and submarines. I’ve also allowed it to have more advanced than normal submarine designs. It also has better-than-normal torpedo bombers. But its list of advantages ends there . . . except for the Yamato battleship. I want to give Japan more and better technology, which is why the recent discussion of the Yamato vs. the Missouri made me unhappy.

    Japan also has major weaknesses. Of the five major powers, its industrial technology is the weakest in the game. It starts off with light tanks, which have fewer hitpoints and a lower land combat value than medium tanks. It can upgrade its tanks to medium tanks. The other four major powers start off with medium tanks, and can upgrade to battle tanks, or even (in Germany’s case) to heavy tanks. Japan’s infantry are less effective than British, American, or German infantry, of equal effectiveness as Soviet infantry, and are more effective than Chinese infantry. Japan’s early game research effort is slower than Germany’s, the U.K.'s, or the U.S.'s. It lags behind the other major participants in terms of aircraft research. Aircraft research results in planes with higher combat values and more hitpoints, and is one of the most important types of research in the game. Its radar technology starts at level 0.

    Compare all this to the United States. The U.S.'s most important advantage is that it can research the most advanced industrial technology in the game; thereby allowing it to upgrade its cities and resource gather points to a higher level than anyone else. As a result of this, the U.S.'s final income is about 200, compared to around 80 for Japan. The U.S. can research better-than-normal dive bombers (Thunderbolts), long-range fighters (Mustangs), nuclear technology, and reduced-cost medium tanks. Late game, it can even upgrade its fighters to Shooting Star jets (though in so doing it will lose the long-range advantage associated with Mustangs). Japan can upgrade its fighters to jets as well, though at a later point in the game than the U.S. The U.S. and Japan have the least advanced jets, the British the second-most-advanced jets, and the Germans the most advanced jets.

    I’d welcome comments on the specific advantages and disadvantages people would like to see for each nation. I’m also open to suggestions about how to balance out the Allies’ advantages in production and manpower available for infantry. (My current method is to allow Germany to research very strong technology.)

  • '12

    The Brits had Bletchley park and the code breakers.  They should go before the Germans, then get a second ‘non-combat move’ after the German turn to reflect the fact they pretty had tabs on where all the German forces were.

    From Wikipedia:

    It contributed greatly to Allied success in defeating the U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic, and to the British naval victories in the Battle of Cape Matapan and the Battle of North Cape. In 1941, Ultra exerted a powerful effect on the North African desert campaign, against the German army, under General Erwin Rommel. General Sir Claude Auchinleck stated that, but for Ultra - “Rommel would have certainly got through to Cairo”. Prior to the Normandy landings on D-Day in June 1944, the Allies knew the locations of all but two of the 58 German divisions on the Western front. Churchill referred to the Bletchley staff as “The geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled”.


  • @MrMalachiCrunch:

    The Brits had Bletchley park and the code breakers.  They should go before the Germans, then get a second ‘non-combat move’ after the German turn to reflect the fact they pretty had tabs on where all the German forces were.

    You’ve brought up a good point about Britain’s code-breaking. I agree the British deserve a significant advantage because of it.

    The tricky part is to translate code-breaking into game terms. To be honest, I’m not happy about any of the ideas I’ve come up with. In a perfect world, I’d be able to come up with something which would give the feel of Britain’s code-breaking, without adding any noticeable complexity to the rules set.

    As far as the ideas you’ve suggested: Britain does in fact go before Germany. Britain has a research centre labeled “Bletchley Park”–a research centre which allows it to significantly increase its pace of research. However, the concept of a research center is not unique to Britain: Germany begins with one also, and the U.S. can build one at Los Alamos. Later in the game Japan can build a research center, on the theory that the pace of Japanese research accelerated later in the war. The Soviets cannot build a research center. Later in the game they partially make up for this by being able to steal one technology per turn from the United States. (This is to simulate various Soviet technological . . . acquisitions which occurred during and shortly after the war. While the most obvious example is the Soviets stealing nuclear weapons tech from the U.S., it’s also worth noting that in 1946, the British Labour government licensed jet technology to the Soviets. The Soviets did not have a viable jet engine development project during WWII. The Soviets also . . . acquired valuable radar technology from the British, after a radar unit on loan from the British mysteriously escaped the control of the Britons tasked with guarding it.)

    The idea of allowing Britain to get an extra non-combat move after Germany’s turn would have both positive and negative effects. On the plus side, it would do a fairly good job of simulating Britain’s ability to use code-breaking to anticipate Germany’s moves. On the minus side, it would involve a slight but noticeable increase in the game’s complexity. Perhaps more importantly, it would allow Britain’s units to move at twice the speed of anyone else’s. A British fleet steaming across the Indian or Pacific Ocean could cross the distance in half the time as anyone else’s fleet. British forces in South Africa could march northward twice as quickly as anyone else’s. I agree code-breaking should create an advantage for Britain, but I don’t think it should create an advantage like that!

    But like I said earlier, I’m not very happy about any of my own ideas for incorporating this technology either!


  • How about this; at the end of Germany’s non-combat movement Britian rolls a D6 and may have that many units of their’s make an extra non-combat move. It would allow Britian to concentrate forces against an obvious German threat, but limit it in scope to only a hand full of units. What do you think?


  • @Clyde85:

    How about this; at the end of Germany’s non-combat movement Britian rolls a D6 and may have that many units of their’s make an extra non-combat move. It would allow Britian to concentrate forces against an obvious German threat, but limit it in scope to only a hand full of units. What do you think?

    Well . . . the problem is that this could be abused. (Or used in a way other than the intended one.) If I’m Britain, I’d probably use this ability to move ships rapidly across the Indian and Pacific Oceans (where mobility is important) rather than in Europe. Or, if I was going to use this against Germany, I wouldn’t use it to defend against a German threat. Instead I’d use it to sink German fleets that were four sea zones away. (I’d cross the first two sea zones after Germany’s turn, and the second two during my combat move.)

    One possibility (which I’ll just throw out there) involves a modification of the U.S.'s “General Patton” technology. The U.S. owns an infantry unit called “General Patton.” General Patton cannot be targeted by the enemy, but is killed if the land force he accompanies is completely destroyed. If General Patton accompanies an American land force, then for every five anti-land hits that force achieves, Patton adds an additional hit.

    Maybe code-breaking could use the same game mechanic. This would involve slightly more complexity than the General Patton technology. With a mixed Allied force, one would have to keep British anti-land, anti-naval, anti-sub, and anti-air hits separate from hits scored by non-British Allied units. This rules set is intended for computers only, so keeping track of these things may be relatively simple.

  • '12

    For the British ‘extra’ non-combat move idea, perhaps only allowing units that did not move during the Brits normal move or had move remaining could move.  Brits move their fleet 1 space, wait for the German turn than use their final movement.  Air units that perhaps only used some of their movements could relocate with their remaining movements.  It would require a marker to indicate which units had how many remaining movements left.  In this way no unit can move further than it would otherwise.  The caveat would be that all territories traversed would have to have been unoccupied by units that would otherwise stop movement.  One couldn’t move a brit tank from place 1 to place 3 traversing place 2 which was friendly on the Brit turn but was just captured by the Germans.  The same for fleet movements, one could not traverse a newly occupied sea zone containing surface combatants.

    Bletchley Park’s research pretty much consisted of the narrow fields required for code breaking, mainly mathematics/computers, thank you Alan Turing.  The world’s first electronic programmable computer didn’t help in any research really.


  • @MrMalachiCrunch:

    For the British ‘extra’ non-combat move idea, perhaps only allowing units that did not move during the Brits normal move or had move remaining could move.  Brits move their fleet 1 space, wait for the German turn than use their final movement.  Air units that perhaps only used some of their movements could relocate with their remaining movements.  It would require a marker to indicate which units had how many remaining movements left.  In this way no unit can move further than it would otherwise.  The caveat would be that all territories traversed would have to have been unoccupied by units that would otherwise stop movement.  One couldn’t move a brit tank from place 1 to place 3 traversing place 2 which was friendly on the Brit turn but was just captured by the Germans.  The same for fleet movements, one could not traverse a newly occupied sea zone containing surface combatants.

    Bletchley Park’s research pretty much consisted of the narrow fields required for code breaking, mainly mathematics/computers, thank you Alan Turing.  The world’s first electronic programmable computer didn’t help in any research really.

    You make good points. I agree the game mechanic you’ve described would give the feel of code-breaking, while addressing my earlier concerns about doubled movement speed. I’ll need time to mull the advantages of this against the disadvantage of increased rules set complexity. The rules set may have reached the limit of the complexity I envision. If anything, I’d like future rules changes to reduce complexity.

    I also agree that the code-breaking and computer research which occurred at Bletchley Park were not necessarily relevant to Britain’s larger research effort. Britain needed/deserved a research center anyway, so the only question was what to name it. If anyone has suggestions about a better name for Britain’s research center than Bletchley Park, I’m open to hearing them. I’m also open to suggestions for the other research centers’ names. Germany’s is named Goettingen laboratory, the U.S.'s is named Los Alamos research center, and Japan’s research center has no name.

    One part of the rules set worth noting is the following. If an enemy attempts to strategically bomb one of your territories, then you may scramble nearby fighters and flying wings to defend against it. Fighters and flying wings may move up to half their range to reach the target of the strategic bombing raid. They will then participate in the dogfight over the territory. Only strategic bombers which survive this dogfight may unload onto the target in question.

    Britain could be given an enhanced version of the above. If any British territory or naval force was subjected to attack, Britain could scramble its nearby aircraft to defend. This would give the British the ability to scramble planes not just against strategic bombing raids, but also to defend against airfield attacks and standard-issue land or sea attacks.


  • I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I just added code-breaking technology for the British. The bad news is that, instead of capturing the flavor of Malachi Crunch’s suggestions, it just adds a bonus to British fighters’ air combat value.

    Before I continue, let me explain that in this rules set, air-to-air combat is a big deal. A big deal! So a bonus to it is nothing to sneeze at!

    As for why I did things this way, it was to prevent an increase in the game’s complexity. If a complexity level of 100 represents what I was shooting for, the rules set eventually reached a level of 150. I then began paring it back until it was around 120 or 125. I may pare it back further, but it’s getting increasingly painful to do. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff I got rid of added depth and flavor. To give one example of something which is now gone: I got rid of terrain. If a territory had level 1 terrain, then for every ten anti-land hits the defender scored in combat, he’d receive a bonus hit. If it had level 2 terrain, he’d receive two bonus hits for every ten hits. And so on. Technologies existed to artificially increase the effective level of terrain of one’s own territories. Germany’s blitzkrieg technology lowered the effective level of defenders’ terrain by two when Germany was the attacker. Getting rid of all that hurt, but I had to get rid of complexity somewhere. I’d rather have a complexity level of 100, with 75% of the depth and richness I want, than a complexity level of 150 with 100% of the desired depth and richness.

    Now to return to the subject of Britain’s bonus to its fighters’ air combat value. There are four types of combat: land, naval, strategic bombing runs, and airfield attacks. An air-to-air dogfight occurs at the beginning of each round of land or naval combat. Fighters are specialized for this air-to-air stage, but dive bombers and torpedo bombers are pretty good at it too. In the next stage, standard-issue land or naval combat ensues. Dive bombers are ideal for attacking land targets; torpedo bombers for attacking ships and submarines. Dive bombers are decent at naval combat, just as torpedo bombers are decent at land combat.

    Strategic bombing raids begin with one round of air-to-air combat. Any bombers which survived that combat get to deliver their payloads, using their strategic bombing values. Strategic bombers have very high strategic bombing values, but are not very good at other tasks. Strategic bombing raids permanently lower the level of a city or a resource gather point; thereby lowering a player’s income. They can also be used to damage or destroy rail networks, thereby reducing a player’s ability to move troops from one place to another.

    Production units (PUs) are used to buy new military units. Economic Units (EUs) are used to build up cities, rail networks, and to research new technologies. Every technology has a set EU price; thereby eliminating luck from technological research. A strategic bombing effort can cause a player to use up EUs to repair damage to his cities, thereby making those EUs unavailable for research or for building up his PU income.

    An airfield attack consists of two rounds of dogfighting between attacking and defending aircraft. After those two rounds, any surviving attacking aircraft use their land combat values to attack defending aircraft. After one round of that, the combat ends. If (for example) Britain and the U.S. use strategic bombing attacks against Germany, Germany can respond with airfield attacks against the territory in which the Anglo-American bombers are based. Britain’s bonus to its fighters’ air combat values will allow itself to better defend against such attacks.


  • If I read your rules correctly, you are saying that all technology has a set cost, thereby eliminating luck, yet you also said the United States was the only one who could get atomic bombs?  Half the reason other countries didn’t have a chance to complete their nuclear research was because they figured the war would be over too soon for it to play a role and they weren’t sure it would work.  But many countries began their research earlier than the United States.  I don’t like the fact that only the United States gets to succeed, because you are then forcing a historical outcome on the game itself.

    One of the problems with recreating World War II as a game, is that we know how it turned out, we know what each side did wrong, and if we were playing the Axis, we would be stupid to make the exact same mistakes.

    Consider Battleships and Aircraft Carriers.  I am pretty sure most of us would invest in carriers if we were replaying WWII and forget the battleships.  And if atomic bombs were obtainable, we would try to obtain them.

    Other countries also knew the US was researching the atomic bomb and where it was doing the research.  Does the US just get to spend the EU’s and get the technology, or does it take a number of game turns?  Can their program be disrupted?  Can other programs be disrupted?  The US was fortunate in that nobody was strategically bombing it all throughout the war, but if Los Alamos had been hit by strategic bombing even once or twice, it is likely the program would not have succeeded in producing an atomic bomb by 1945.

    Some other general questions I have include:
    1.  How long are turns in real time?  Are they monthly, yearly?
    2.  How small of units does the game account for?  Corps?  Divisions?  Brigades?  Are there individual aircraft or just entire wings?  Are fleets comprised of individual ships or are they just fleets? 
    3.  You said that Strategic Bombing “permanently” reduced the production value of a city, but then suggested cities could be built up and improved?  Can you repair strategic bombing damage?

    I like the idea that you want the make the game detailed, yet playable.  I have struggled in my own gaming concepts for that same balance.  I like the idea of including such detailed wartime issues as individual resources (Japan was screwed because their home islands had virtually nothing, while the US had just about everything except Uranium), individual factories such as ball bearings, batteries or shipyards, aircraft plants, electrical plants and so on.  Basically you would have to have a simple enough system to say that you need a certain amount of aluminum, iron, rubber, oil or whatever to build certain units, and the more you have (at your factories, so you have to transport it there), the more units of a certain type you can make.  If you don’t allocate properly, or someone has bombed your rail networks and you can’t get it there quickly enough, productions drops, or stops.  This is why I asked about setting back programs like the atomic bomb.  If someone had done a Doolittle Raid and took out the Uranium Enrichment facilities at Oak Ridge, and if that was the only production center… or the Germans had focused on sinking any ships leaving the Belgium Congo with the Uranium ore, suddenly the program halts for lack of materials.  So if you say that Uranium is only currently located at certain points on the map, and a country doing atomic bomb research needs X number of resource units to conduct research (more allowing for faster results), and the shipments never arrive at the production factory, or factories, suddenly 1945 arrives and there is no bomb.

    So many war games leave out significant issues like supply lines.  Germany was going for the Russian oil for a reason.  Japan was going for the Dutch East Indies oil for a reason.  The US was shipping endless material to the UK for a reason.  Without it, the war efforts of those nations dwindles.  The other item is weather.  Nowadays we take for granted that aircraft fly in all kinds of weather, but back then an overcast day meant no air attacks.  The Russian Winter comes to mind as a good example.  Maybe for simplicity, you simply say that strategic bombing and air support is weakened during winter turns.

    And lastly… for this post… you mentioned air combat being a big deal.  During WWII, experienced pilots were a big deal too.  When Japan and Germany started to lose theirs, it was very apparent.  Also, early in the war Japan enjoyed a somewhat qualitative edge with the Zero, which then went downhill as America built far better aircraft, whereas Germany generally fielded some of the best aircraft, but later lacked the numbers and pilots.  Will your rules account for this?  Can “units” get experience points or some other advantage?


  • @Epiphany:

    If I read your rules correctly, you are saying that all technology has a set cost, thereby eliminating luck, yet you also said the United States was the only one who could get atomic bombs?  Half the reason other countries didn’t have a chance to complete their nuclear research was because they figured the war would be over too soon for it to play a role and they weren’t sure it would work.  But many countries began their research earlier than the United States.  I don’t like the fact that only the United States gets to succeed, because you are then forcing a historical outcome on the game itself.

    One of the problems with recreating World War II as a game, is that we know how it turned out, we know what each side did wrong, and if we were playing the Axis, we would be stupid to make the exact same mistakes.

    Consider Battleships and Aircraft Carriers.  I am pretty sure most of us would invest in carriers if we were replaying WWII and forget the battleships.  And if atomic bombs were obtainable, we would try to obtain them.

    Other countries also knew the US was researching the atomic bomb and where it was doing the research.  Does the US just get to spend the EU’s and get the technology, or does it take a number of game turns?  Can their program be disrupted?  Can other programs be disrupted?  The US was fortunate in that nobody was strategically bombing it all throughout the war, but if Los Alamos had been hit by strategic bombing even once or twice, it is likely the program would not have succeeded in producing an atomic bomb by 1945.

    Some other general questions I have include:
    1.  How long are turns in real time?  Are they monthly, yearly?
    2.  How small of units does the game account for?  Corps?  Divisions?  Brigades?  Are there individual aircraft or just entire wings?  Are fleets comprised of individual ships or are they just fleets?  
    3.  You said that Strategic Bombing “permanently” reduced the production value of a city, but then suggested cities could be built up and improved?  Can you repair strategic bombing damage?

    I like the idea that you want the make the game detailed, yet playable.  I have struggled in my own gaming concepts for that same balance.  I like the idea of including such detailed wartime issues as individual resources (Japan was screwed because their home islands had virtually nothing, while the US had just about everything except Uranium), individual factories such as ball bearings, batteries or shipyards, aircraft plants, electrical plants and so on.  Basically you would have to have a simple enough system to say that you need a certain amount of aluminum, iron, rubber, oil or whatever to build certain units, and the more you have (at your factories, so you have to transport it there), the more units of a certain type you can make.  If you don’t allocate properly, or someone has bombed your rail networks and you can’t get it there quickly enough, productions drops, or stops.  This is why I asked about setting back programs like the atomic bomb.  If someone had done a Doolittle Raid and took out the Uranium Enrichment facilities at Oak Ridge, and if that was the only production center… or the Germans had focused on sinking any ships leaving the Belgium Congo with the Uranium ore, suddenly the program halts for lack of materials.  So if you say that Uranium is only currently located at certain points on the map, and a country doing atomic bomb research needs X number of resource units to conduct research (more allowing for faster results), and the shipments never arrive at the production factory, or factories, suddenly 1945 arrives and there is no bomb.

    So many war games leave out significant issues like supply lines.  Germany was going for the Russian oil for a reason.  Japan was going for the Dutch East Indies oil for a reason.  The US was shipping endless material to the UK for a reason.  Without it, the war efforts of those nations dwindles.  The other item is weather.  Nowadays we take for granted that aircraft fly in all kinds of weather, but back then an overcast day meant no air attacks.  The Russian Winter comes to mind as a good example.  Maybe for simplicity, you simply say that strategic bombing and air support is weakened during winter turns.

    And lastly… for this post… you mentioned air combat being a big deal.  During WWII, experienced pilots were a big deal too.  When Japan and Germany started to lose theirs, it was very apparent.  Also, early in the war Japan enjoyed a somewhat qualitative edge with the Zero, which then went downhill as America built far better aircraft, whereas Germany generally fielded some of the best aircraft, but later lacked the numbers and pilots.  Will your rules account for this?  Can “units” get experience points or some other advantage?

    Great post! 🙂

    In answer to your question about nuclear technology: this technology is available to both the U.S. and to Germany. Later in the game, the Soviets can obtain it as well, by stealing it from the United States. The exact game mechanics are as follows.

    It’s possible to research any technological category by only one level per turn. On turn 1, for example, the United States can research nuclear technology level 1, it researches nuclear technology level 2 on turn 2, and so on. Once it has researched nuclear technology level 7, it can then begin building nuclear facilities. These facilities can be upgraded by one level per turn. So on turn 7 it will have level 1 facilities, turn 8 it will have level 2 facilities, and so forth. Level 3 nuclear facilities provide one free nuclear bomb per turn, and level 5 nuclear facilities provide two free bombs per turn. Germany’s process for acquiring nuclear weapons is identical to this. The Soviet Union’s is also identical, but with one exception. The Soviets must wait until turn 10 before they can start stealing American technology. At that point, they get to choose one technology a turn to steal. If they decided to go for nuclear weapons as quickly as possible, then on turn 10 they’d steal nuclear technology level 1, on turn 11 they’d steal nuclear tech level 2, and so on. The Soviets cannot research nuclear technology on their own, which means their only way of acquiring it is to steal it from the United States.

    There are three types of resources in the game: production units (PUs), manpower points (MPs), and economic units (EUs). Production units are used to build military units. Manpower points are used to build infantry. The number of MPs your nation has reflect the number of men available for serving in its army. Economic units are used to research new technologies, to upgrade your cities and resource centers, to build and upgrade rail networks, and to build nuclear production facilities. If someone begins strategically bombing your cities or resource centers, that bombing effort will downgrade those cities or resource centers. You can build them back up again, but only by spending precious EUs.

    It will take perhaps 20 - 30 turns, or possibly even more, for a nation to research all the technologies available to it, and to fully upgrade its cities and resource centers. Any extra EUs it’s forced to spend during that span–for example as a result of strategic bombing efforts–will slow that process down. Researching nuclear weapons is not necessarily in Germany’s interest–at least not right away. Early in the game, Germany should focus its research on better tanks, infantry, jets, industrial technology, and possibly submarines or rockets. I don’t have a good feel for whether the U.S. should or shouldn’t research nuclear technology early in the game. A potentially better move would be to focus about half its EUs on creating a truly massive war production effort, with the other half going to upgrade its air units, radar and sonar, artillery, and tanks.

    The U.S. almost has to devote the majority of its military effort to Germany, because a strong late game Germany is truly frightening. There are three different ways it can do that: 1) by directly landing forces in western or southern Europe. 2) By bombing Germany’s cities. This would force Germany to build fighters (and, later, jets) with which to defend itself, while also damaging Germany’s industry. 3) By shipping units to the Soviet Union. Non-Soviet Allied units which end their turn on Soviet soil become Soviet via Lend-Lease. (Except for infantry, which get disbanded. The Soviet player receives some PUs for infantry disbanded in this way, but not enough to make it worthwhile for the U.S. or Britain to send him many infantry.)

    The U.S. doesn’t have to fully commit to any one of these strategies. But the technologies needed to optimize one strategy may not be helpful for the other two. For example, the bombing effort would be helped by better bomber technology; as well as by researching long range (Mustang) fighter aircraft. Strategic bombers aren’t much good at anything other than strategic bombing, so the improved strategic bombers wouldn’t be very helpful for invading Italy or France. Improving infantry, tanks, artillery, and dive bombers would be useful for these invasions. But once a unit is donated to the Soviet Union, that unit’s stats are governed by the Soviets’ technological level. Which means that upgrading tanks or artillery sent the Soviets’ way is wasted effort. (I realize this is unrealistic. But it’s also necessary to prevent additional complexity in the game mechanics.)

    In answer to your questions. 1. Game turns represent six months of time. 2. I haven’t specified an exact size that individual game units account for. Japan receives 7 MPs a turn, and the U.S. receives 10 MPs a turn. Infantry cost 1 PU and 1 MP on turns 1 - 4, and 1 PU and 4 MPs starting on turn 5. Question 3: already answered.

    I have not included individual resources in this game, on the theory that to do so would increase the rules set’s complexity. Instead I have included Resource Centers (RCs). RCs produce PU income, and can be upgraded to produce more. It costs 1 EU to upgrade a RC by a level, and 2 EUs to upgrade a city by one level. A level 1 city or level 1 RC produces 1 PU of income a turn, a level 2 city or level 2 RC produces two PUs of income a turn, and so forth. Gathering in RCs is a great way to increase your nation’s income. There are RCs in the Caucasus (oil fields), Ukraine (grain), Norway (analog for Swedish iron ore), Germany (coal), East Indies (oil), Persia (oil), Iraq (oil), Panama (canal), South Africa (metals), Alaska, etc.

    Unlike RCs, cities can be used to place new units. A level 1 city has a placement capacity of 2, a level 2 city a placement capacity of 4, and so on. A size 1 unit consumes one placement capacity, a size 2 unit consumes two placement capacity, etc.

    A size 2 city produces 1 EU a turn, and a size 3 city produces 2 EUs a turn. Germany and Britain each start with a research center to give them bonus EUs. The U.S. can build a research center at Los Alamos on turn 3, and Japan can build a research center later in the game. The Soviets’ lack of a research center may cause them to fall a little behind technologically. But starting on turn 10, they can partially offset that by stealing a technology a turn from the United States.

    Research centers can be permanently destroyed. But first you have to permanently destroy the associated city. That requires a truly massive bombing effort: you need either nuclear weapons or to spend some serious cash on a large number of upgraded strategic bombers. And then you have to make sure those strategic bombers don’t get taken out by a defending fighter force before they can deliver their deadly payload.

    My rules do not account for pilot training programs, unit experience, or supply lines. There was a limit to the amount of complexity I’d allow myself, and I wanted to use as much of that limit as possible on the macro aspects of the game.


  • I like it!  It is also somewhat easier to visualize your game now, having heard a bit more on the system.  In some ways it is good to have a generic PU, EU and MP system to avoid having to get into too much detail about how every resource or human being reaches the correct spot on the board to be turned into units.  As long as there is some complexity, and an ability to disrupt, I am cool with it.  I got a little worried when you suggested that bar a nuclear weapon, taking out an RC is next to impossible with just strategic bombing.  But then I considered everything Germany threw at London for several months and still didn’t knock it out as an effective city.  And then how much junk the Allies dropped on Dresden to decimate it.  And speaking of which… can you research improved munitions so when you do get your bombers through the air defenses, you can cause more damage?

    Also, what happens to the Soviets if Germany makes it to Moscow?  What does it take to conquer a country in the game?  Can only minor nations be conquered?  Can players play minor countries?  Can Spain be brought into the war?  Are there politics to the game so maybe Hitler or the Allies can win or lose allies?  Or do minor nations simply represent resources like in Axis and Allies?  Also, when countries join a side (like Romania), can they contribute MP’s, EU’s or anything to their allied nation?


  • @Epiphany:

    I like it!  It is also somewhat easier to visualize your game now, having heard a bit more on the system.  In some ways it is good to have a generic PU, EU and MP system to avoid having to get into too much detail about how every resource or human being reaches the correct spot on the board to be turned into units.  As long as there is some complexity, and an ability to disrupt, I am cool with it.  I got a little worried when you suggested that bar a nuclear weapon, taking out an RC is next to impossible with just strategic bombing.  But then I considered everything Germany threw at London for several months and still didn’t knock it out as an effective city.  And then how much junk the Allies dropped on Dresden to decimate it.  And speaking of which… can you research improved munitions so when you do get your bombers through the air defenses, you can cause more damage?

    Also, what happens to the Soviets if Germany makes it to Moscow?  What does it take to conquer a country in the game?  Can only minor nations be conquered?  Can players play minor countries?  Can Spain be brought into the war?  Are there politics to the game so maybe Hitler or the Allies can win or lose allies?  Or do minor nations simply represent resources like in Axis and Allies?  Also, when countries join a side (like Romania), can they contribute MP’s, EU’s or anything to their allied nation?

    Good post! 🙂

    In answer to your first question, level 1 strategic bombers tech allows you to build basic strategic bombers. These bombers cost 18 PUs to build, have 3 hitpoints, a strategic bombing value of 3, and a range of 8. A strategic bombing value of 3 means a bomber does three hits of damage when making a strategic bombing raid.

    In this rules set, whoever inflicts hits gets to decide how they’re allocated. This means that a bomber having three hitpoints is not as big a deal as you might think! Anyone shooting at these bombers (or any other multi-hitpoint unit) will naturally finish off the first one before injuring the second.

    Once you research strategic bombers level 4, you can build improved strategic bombers. Improved strategic bombers cost 21 PUs to build, have four hitpoints, and have a strategic bombing value of 6.

    Researching strategic bombers level 10 causes you to have heavy strategic bombers. These bombers cost 24 PUs to build, have six hitpoints, a range of 10, and have a strategic bombing value of 10.

    (As an aside: whenever technology involves making units more expensive–as in this case–that technology has both an EU cost and a PU cost. The PU cost is a function of the number of existing units of the type to be upgraded you currently possess.)

    It takes 10 hits to reduce a city, rail network, or resource gather point by one level. It takes 30 hits to permanently reduce a city by one size, and 40 hits to destroy a research center. A city must be reduced to level 0 before its size can be lowered. If (for example) there was a level 5 size 2 city, 50 hits would be needed to reduce it to level 0, 30 more hits to reduce it to size 1, and 30 hits to finish it off. A force of 11 heavy strategic bombers, or 37 basic strategic bombers, would be sufficient to deliver this much damage. But even just one heavy strategic bomber could lower a city by one level per turn!

    Before strategic bombers can deliver their payload, they have to undergo one round of aerial combat. Only bombers which survive this combat can deliver their payload. Jets are nasty customers in air-to-air combat. Once Germany researches jet technology, it will be very tough for strategic bombers to crack Germany’s air defenses!

    Nuclear bombs exist as separate game pieces, and have a strategic bombing value of 40. A strategic bomber can deliver a nuclear bomb plus its usual payload.

    In answer to your second question: nations’ capitals are not given special treatment. There’s no concept of handing over your cash just because someone conquered your capital city! Losing Moscow would still be a devastating blow for the Soviet Union. The Soviets receive 8 EUs a turn (necessary for researching and industrializing). Losing Moscow would cost them 25% of that EU income. It would also make a good dent in their PU and manpower point (MP) income. (However, it would add nothing to Germany’s MP income, because you can only collect MP income from a territory if your nation started the game with that territory.) Finally, the Soviet Union would lose control of 2/3 of its rail capacity (there is a level 2 rail hub located in Moscow). This rail capacity would be usable by Germany on its subsequent turn. Rails allow you to more quickly move units from one place to another.

    The game does not currently have any diplomatic features. At present, neutral countries are considered impassable. I am considering making neutral nations conquerable. Possibly if I did this, then I’d make it so that any neutral nation attacked by one side immediately becomes a playable nation controlled by the other side.

    In the main version of the rules set, countries like Romania, Finland, and Italy are lumped in with Germany. As such, they are treated like any other German territory, and contribute MPs, PUs, and EUs to Germany’s coffers. In an optional variant, I have them broken out as separate nations. Italy is stuck with light infantry and light tanks, and what is probably the most disappointing technology situation of the game. (With the possible exception of China.) Romania’s available technology is fairly standard-issue and vanilla. It uses medium tanks and regular infantry, and can research upgrades. Finland’s technology situation is similar to Romania’s, except that Finland’s infantry are better than game-normal. Medium tanks are good units, but not as good as the battle tanks or heavy tanks Germany will upgrade to as the game progresses. Later in the game, Finland, Romania, and Italy can slowly start receiving jet technology from Germany. Germany may also want to research better medium tank technology–not for its own use, but so that it can transfer it to its minor allies.


  • In the main version of the rules set, countries like Romania, Finland, and Italy are lumped in with Germany. As such, they are treated like any other German territory, and contribute MPs, PUs, and EUs to Germany’s coffers. In an optional variant, I have them broken out as separate nations. Italy is stuck with light infantry and light tanks, and what is probably the most disappointing technology situation of the game. (With the possible exception of China.) Romania’s available technology is fairly standard-issue and vanilla. It uses medium tanks and regular infantry, and can research upgrades. Finland’s technology situation is similar to Romania’s, except that Finland’s infantry are better than game-normal. Medium tanks are good units, but not as good as the battle tanks or heavy tanks Germany will upgrade to as the game progresses. Later in the game, Finland, Romania, and Italy can slowly start receiving jet technology from Germany. Germany may also want to research better medium tank technology–not for its own use, but so that it can transfer it to its minor allies.

    I like the idea of being able to transfer technology to your allies so their units can be improved.  You might add some kind of “morale bonus” to help adjust their capabilities since many countries, Italy included, were just not as enthusiastic about war as Germany and Japan and the UK were.  So even if they had jets, maybe they perform a little less capably than those operated by Germany.  That would you could upgrade them directly, yet not gain quite the full 100% value.  This would possibly reflect poorer training, while having just one overarching rule to cover it all, rather than some complex list of rules to explain it.  This bonus would also explain how Japan and Germany were fighting all the way till their destruction and where Britain was fighting even stronger during the Battle of Britain where say, France, surrendered.  And for Russia, back in WWI, they simply walked away from the war, while it was still going, their hearts not really in it, yet in WWII, they probably would have kept going even if Moscow had fallen, similar to how you were saying that capitals play a role, but that conquering a country doesn’t come simply with their capture.

    Also, Italy had a lot of the same technology as Germany.  They made some fairly advanced aircraft designs during the war, their navy was every bit as advanced as anyone else, yet half the war their navy sat in port.  Then the moment the Allies showed up on their porch and Musolini was ousted, suddenly their were on the Allied side.  So I can see morale playing a good role in your game.

    Also, on the topic of morale, does France automatically surrender in your version, or do they have the capability of fighting?  From what I have read, France could have fought on.  They had the forces, the tanks, the aircraft.  How does your game play out differently than history?  In many WWII games, units are provided to reflect history, yet also to allow for game play, so either side can win.  Yet if you allowed for pre-war buildup, Japan could have built carriers instead of battleships, Germany could have built something differently.  Knowing how history played out kind of lets people alter events.  When I play Axis and Allies, sometimes I like to give Germany a couple of extra bombers just to knock out transport production in the United States, I wipe out the UK fleet and then see how long it takes the Allies to fight back when they can’t field a fleet right away.  Just two extra bomber units and suddenly the war changes dramatically.

    And lastly… for this post… is this game board or computer?  Would you use the counters with the clickers, or is everything computerized?  How do you keep track of unit stats and hit points on bombers and so on?


  • @Epiphany:

    I like the idea of being able to transfer technology to your allies so their units can be improved.  You might add some kind of “morale bonus” to help adjust their capabilities since many countries, Italy included, were just not as enthusiastic about war as Germany and Japan and the UK were.  So even if they had jets, maybe they perform a little less capably than those operated by Germany.  That would you could upgrade them directly, yet not gain quite the full 100% value.  This would possibly reflect poorer training, while having just one overarching rule to cover it all, rather than some complex list of rules to explain it.  This bonus would also explain how Japan and Germany were fighting all the way till their destruction and where Britain was fighting even stronger during the Battle of Britain where say, France, surrendered.  And for Russia, back in WWI, they simply walked away from the war, while it was still going, their hearts not really in it, yet in WWII, they probably would have kept going even if Moscow had fallen, similar to how you were saying that capitals play a role, but that conquering a country doesn’t come simply with their capture.

    Also, Italy had a lot of the same technology as Germany.  They made some fairly advanced aircraft designs during the war, their navy was every bit as advanced as anyone else, yet half the war their navy sat in port.  Then the moment the Allies showed up on their porch and Musolini was ousted, suddenly their were on the Allied side.  So I can see morale playing a good role in your game.

    Also, on the topic of morale, does France automatically surrender in your version, or do they have the capability of fighting?  From what I have read, France could have fought on.  They had the forces, the tanks, the aircraft.  How does your game play out differently than history?  In many WWII games, units are provided to reflect history, yet also to allow for game play, so either side can win.  Yet if you allowed for pre-war buildup, Japan could have built carriers instead of battleships, Germany could have built something differently.  Knowing how history played out kind of lets people alter events.  When I play Axis and Allies, sometimes I like to give Germany a couple of extra bombers just to knock out transport production in the United States, I wipe out the UK fleet and then see how long it takes the Allies to fight back when they can’t field a fleet right away.  Just two extra bomber units and suddenly the war changes dramatically.

    And lastly… for this post… is this game board or computer?  Would you use the counters with the clickers, or is everything computerized?  How do you keep track of unit stats and hit points on bombers and so on?

    The game starts in the spring of '42. By that point, France has already been added to Germany. However, I could envision an optional 1940 scenario; with France as a separate playable nation. It would have the following technologies:

    Char B1 tank. French medium tanks receive +2 to hitpoints, have a movement of 1, and cost 6 PUs to build.

    Vichy France. If Paris is conquered, the rest of France becomes neutral. It ceases to generate income, and remains fully static. If at this point Vichy French units are attacked by the Allies, Vichy France joins the Axis, and is controlled by the German player. If Vichy French units are attacked by the Axis, France joins the Allies; and French units are controlled by the British player.

    Italy can build light infantry. Light infantry have a land combat value of 0.3, 1 hitpoint, and cost 1 manpower point (MP). Most nations build regular infantry. These have a land combat value of 0.7, 2 hitpoints, and cost 1 MP and 1 PU. Regular infantry’s effectiveness can be upgraded through research, but the same is not true of Italian light infantry. Italian light tanks are significantly inferior to other nations’ medium tanks; and cannot be upgraded as much as Japan’s light tanks can be.

    Italy has the inefficient manufacturing technology, which adds +1 PUs to the cost of its blockhouses and artillery. It also has the “poor naval tradition” technology. For every four anti-naval hits an Italian force scores, one hit is subtracted. Your post has inspired me to add the “poor air tradition” technology to Italy.

    For the purposes of this rules set, I’ve divided tanks into four categories: light tanks (15 tons), medium tanks (25 tons), battle tanks (50 tons) and heavy tanks (75 tons). Most nations start off with medium tanks level 2 tech. The Soviets have medium tanks level 3, because of the T-34. As with other tech categories, you can research one level per turn.

    Basic medium tanks (level 2 tech) have 2 hitpoints, a land combat value of 1, and cost 5 PUs. Fully upgraded medium tanks (level 7 tech) have 4 hitpoints and a land combat value of 2.5. It will take most nations five turns, and a lot of EUs, to get there. Once you have researched medium tanks level 6, you are allowed to research battle tanks level 1. If your goal as the U.S., U.S.S.R., or U.K. is to have fully upgraded battle tanks, it will take you 12 - 14 turns to get there.

    But Germany doesn’t have to worry about any of that. On its second turn, it can research the “Panther tank” tech. This technology gives it battle tank tech levels 1 - 5. A basic battle tank (level 2) has a land combat value of 2, 4 hitpoints, and costs 8 PUs to build. A level 5 battle tank has 12 hitpoints and a land combat value of 8. By the time battle tanks are fully upgraded (level 9) they will have 16 hitpoints and a land combat value of 14.

    Giving Germany this kind of technology so quickly may seem extreme. But it has a starting income of 50, as compared to 80 for the U.S.S.R., 60 for the U.K., and 100 for the U.S. In addition, it receives 13 manpower points per turn to the Soviets’ 27. Germany needs quick access to good technology to keep itself in the game.

    On its third turn, Germany can research the Me 262. This immediately provides it with jet engines levels 1 - 4, jet fighters levels 1 - 7, and jet fighter-bombers levels 1 - 2. The game’s other participants can acquire jets eventually. But they have to acquire each of those technologies one level at a time. Also, they’re not allowed to begin jet research until they have researched piston engines level 4. Finally, the game’s other major participants are limited to less advanced jet designs than the ones available to the Germans.

    The U.S. and Japan are limited to researching basic jet fighters. Japan’s aircraft research effort is delayed by three turns, which means that its piston aircraft will typically be inferior to their Allied counterparts. This also means its jet engine research will be three turns behind the U.S.'s, and four turns behind Britain’s.

    The ceiling of Britain’s jet research is improved jet fighters. These are a step above basic jet fighters, and a step below upgraded jets (Me 262s). Very late in the game, Germany can research advanced jet fighters; which are two steps above upgraded jets.

    The Soviet Union cannot research jet technology on its own. But starting in round 10, it can steal a technology a turn from the United States. Once it has stolen jet engines level 4 (game round 13 at the earliest), its MiG technology will allow it to research improved jets (equivalent to British jets).

    Jets represent a powerful mid- and late-game technological advantage for Germany. Germany needs advantages like this to make up for the fact that, after industrialization, the U.S. will have an income of 200 PUs a turn, as compared to 140 for Germany, 121 for the U.S.S.R., 80 for the U.K., 85 for Japan, and 34 for China. If I was going to be completely historically accurate, the U.S. would have a late game income of 300 PUs. I might actually head a little in that direction, at least if the late game Axis seems too strong and in need of balancing.

    This rules set is complex enough that it would be difficult to turn it into a physical board game. On the bright side, there aren’t many categories of units. Once you decide to opt for battle tanks, for example, then all your tanks get converted into battle tanks. So you could just keep using the same tank playing pieces you’d used back when your tanks were medium tanks. But keeping track of which nation has researched what technologies, and how this has affected their units’ stats, would be cumbersome. Ideally, a ready and willing software developer will be found to turn this rules set into computer code.


  • I like pretty much everything I am reading here.  You seem to have come up with a balance to represent morale and production and combat.

    Though I’d love the version where France is in the war at the start, it would be hard to create a situation, in game, where they suddenly just up and surrender.  From what I have read, France not only had more tanks than Germany, they had some better tanks too.  Maybe the doctrine of expecting Germany to bleed itself out knocking on the Maginot door set them up to be too surprised and unprepared when Germany went around it… but I can imagine in a game setting, a player would just push everything up North to meet Germany where they came in, rather than just surrender.  But in games, players are far more willing to sacrifice units to gain a slight advantage, whereas in reality, those were people who would be dying.  We will never know how it would have turned out had France fought on.  But it would be a fun simulation.  Capturing it in a game would be mighty hard.  Or hard in the sense that history would not play out the same way.  Germany might have still won in France and gained its surrender, but then what about the Battle of Britain and the loss of so many German aircraft and crews, and then what of Operation Barbarosa?  Sometimes when you are losing unexpectedly, you start looking for different allies.  What if Hitler, who was playing nice with Stalin at the time, got him on board?  Or if the Soviets stayed out all together?

    How many players is the game set up for max?  This sounds a bit like Axis and Allies with five players.  How do you envision Germany standing a chance, with Japan, if the USA has 200 production with a potential 300?  What is the maximum Germany or Japan can obtain?  And is there any realistic way in the war for either to get into a position to hit the US and set it back?  Strike at its production with strategic bombers or is the US pretty much impervious?  Because it sounds like Germany and Japan, even with Russia and the UK knocked out, would still have a real fight against just the USA all by itself.

    Also, you suggested some tech could take 13 or 14 turns.  If I understand correctly, this is 6.5 to 7 years of game time?  So we would be talking 1942 + 6.5 years = 1948/1949 for some techs to be obtained by some countries?

    And how does combat actually work?  Does it come down to amazing dice rolls with my attack strength matching up on a chart against your defense strength and we just roll for losses?  I always hated games of Axis and Allies where I would hit with 12 tanks and 20 INF, the defender would have 15 INF and get 15 hits to my 3 or 4.  Drove me nuts!  You could waste hours of fun on a single lucky roll.  I know luck plays into a lot of warfare, but planning, good defensive positions, and equipment and training should be the primary factors.  Or at least all should be equally weighted, if you know what I mean?  Especially in a game.  But it is also sweet to knock out two battleships and lose no aircraft.  And just as painful to see an opponent roll a bunch of ones on an AA roll.


  • @Epiphany:

    I like pretty much everything I am reading here.  You seem to have come up with a balance to represent morale and production and combat.

    Though I’d love the version where France is in the war at the start, it would be hard to create a situation, in game, where they suddenly just up and surrender.  From what I have read, France not only had more tanks than Germany, they had some better tanks too.  Maybe the doctrine of expecting Germany to bleed itself out knocking on the Maginot door set them up to be too surprised and unprepared when Germany went around it… but I can imagine in a game setting, a player would just push everything up North to meet Germany where they came in, rather than just surrender.  But in games, players are far more willing to sacrifice units to gain a slight advantage, whereas in reality, those were people who would be dying.  We will never know how it would have turned out had France fought on.  But it would be a fun simulation.  Capturing it in a game would be mighty hard.  Or hard in the sense that history would not play out the same way.  Germany might have still won in France and gained its surrender, but then what about the Battle of Britain and the loss of so many German aircraft and crews, and then what of Operation Barbarosa?  Sometimes when you are losing unexpectedly, you start looking for different allies.  What if Hitler, who was playing nice with Stalin at the time, got him on board?  Or if the Soviets stayed out all together?

    How many players is the game set up for max?  This sounds a bit like Axis and Allies with five players.  How do you envision Germany standing a chance, with Japan, if the USA has 200 production with a potential 300?  What is the maximum Germany or Japan can obtain?  And is there any realistic way in the war for either to get into a position to hit the US and set it back?  Strike at its production with strategic bombers or is the US pretty much impervious?  Because it sounds like Germany and Japan, even with Russia and the UK knocked out, would still have a real fight against just the USA all by itself.

    Also, you suggested some tech could take 13 or 14 turns.  If I understand correctly, this is 6.5 to 7 years of game time?  So we would be talking 1942 + 6.5 years = 1948/1949 for some techs to be obtained by some countries?

    And how does combat actually work?  Does it come down to amazing dice rolls with my attack strength matching up on a chart against your defense strength and we just roll for losses?  I always hated games of Axis and Allies where I would hit with 12 tanks and 20 INF, the defender would have 15 INF and get 15 hits to my 3 or 4.  Drove me nuts!  You could waste hours of fun on a single lucky roll.  I know luck plays into a lot of warfare, but planning, good defensive positions, and equipment and training should be the primary factors.  Or at least all should be equally weighted, if you know what I mean?  Especially in a game.  But it is also sweet to knock out two battleships and lose no aircraft.  And just as painful to see an opponent roll a bunch of ones on an AA roll.

    You always seem to come up with good questions. I appreciate this.

    I’ve spent a lot more time thinking about the 1942 opening (game-standard map) than about a 1940 scenario with France. So I apologize if my responses to questions about the latter are a little lacking. I hope that other people take the generalized rules set I’ve created and use it to make their own scenarios.

    Below is a chart. The first number listed for each nation is its starting income. The final number is its income after it’s finished industrializing.

    Japan: 28 . . . 85
    China: 18 . . . 34
    U.K.: 68 . . . 80
    Germany: 50 . . . 140
    U.S.S.R.: 80 . . . 121
    U.S.: 100 . . . 200

    In answer to your question about how the Axis stands a chance: the Allies’ economic advantage will be offset by Germany’s technological advantage. Germany’s technological advantage will help it in the following areas: tanks, jet aircraft, rockets, submarines, infantry. Each of the six above-listed nations has at least some kind of unique technological edge, even China. But Germany’s available mid to late game technologies are game changing.

    Later in the game, German battle tanks will have 9 hitpoints, a land combat value of 5.5, and will cost 7 PUs each to build. By contrast, fully upgraded Soviet medium tanks will have 4 hitpoints, a land combat value of 2.5, and will cost 4 PUs each. Even though the German tanks are more expensive, they still represent more bang for the buck.

    You might point out that those tanks don’t represent enough more bang for the buck to offset the economic disparity I’ve described. And you’d be right! But that’s where Germany’s advantage in air power comes in.

    On Germany’s third turn, it can acquire upgraded jets. These have an air combat value of 5, 10 hitpoints, and cost 12 PUs. Basic jets (which is the best the U.S. can do) have an air combat value of 3, 6 hitpoints, and cost 14 PUs each. But it will be a while before the U.S. can research even basic jets. By the time it does so, Germany should be close to getting advanced jet fighters. These jets have and air combat value of 9, 20 hitpoints, and cost 12 PUs. Even with their economic advantage, it will be very difficult for the Allies to prevent Germany from controlling the skies above Europe.

    Germany also has the ability to research highly advanced Type XXI U-boats. This will take at least nine turns of spending EUs to gradually upgrade its submarine fleet to better and more powerful designs. But once those upgrades are finished, German subs will become very difficult to destroy; and will do a lot of damage as well. They will provide Germany with much more bang for the buck than any air or naval unit available to the Allies. Between its jets and its U-boats, Germany could position itself to challenge the Allies for control of the North Atlantic. If Germany was successful, it would prevent Britain or the U.S. from sending units to the Soviets via Lend-Lease, while also preventing them from landing units in German-held Europe. Meanwhile, Germany would use its jets to counter any strategic bombing offensive the Allies might mount. Use of these tactics would force Britain and the U.S. to win their air and sea war against Germany, because the alternative would be for both nations to become useless in Europe.

    Rocket technology, available to Germany alone, will also help in that air and sea war. Air-to-air missiles will make German jets even better at shooting down enemy aircraft than the above numbers would suggest. Air-to-surface missiles will help German planes deal with Allied surface ships. (While also aiding in the ground war against the Soviets. Needless to say, Germany will have complete air supremacy in that ground war.)

    In the early and middle portions of the game, I expect both sides to go for instant gratification technologies. But once the juiciest technologies have been researched, both sides may settle in for the long slog of nuclear research. (Admittedly, it will take a very long game for nuclear weapons to be put into effect!) If the U.S. or the Soviet Union get nuclear weapons, they can use strategic bombers to try to send them to their targets. Targeted nations can use defending aircraft to shoot down the bombers before they can deliver their payload. Initially, Germany’s strategic bombing situation will be like this too. But in the long run, it will be able to research the A-12 (basically a V-2 on steroids). The A-12 can deliver a nuclear payload to any target anywhere in the world. There is no possible defense against nuclear attacks launched by ICBMs. (Except to destroy Germany’s nuclear production facilities.) The Allies do not want the game to go on indefinitely!

    Later in the game, Germany will also be able to research the assault rifle, a long-ranged Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon, improved optics, and infrared night fighting equipment. This last is also available to the U.S. Collectively, those four technologies will give German infantry and tanks a significant edge over their Soviet counterparts.

    In answer to your question about combat, land combat works in the following way. 1. Dogfight phase. (Fighters and jet fighters have the highest air combat value, and are the best for this dogfight stage.) Each side’s air units fire at each other using their air combat values. To determine the number of hits your air units score, add up their air combat value. If that value adds up to, say, 5.5, then you get either five hits or six. Roll a ten-sided die to determine this; with a roll of 5 or lower giving you that fractional hit. Each side applies hits to the other side’s air units, and destroyed units are removed from play.

    The next phase of land combat is the main combat. (Dive bombers have the highest land combat value of any plane, and make the best ground attack aircraft.) During the first round of main combat only, attacking planes and artillery fire at twice their normal land combat value. Each side applies hits to the other sides’ units. However, you must destroy all enemy infantry units before you can apply hits to enemy tanks. You must destroy all enemy tanks before you can apply hits to enemy artillery.

    After any given combat round, either side can choose to withdraw its land force. During this withdrawal phase, the non-withdrawing player’s tanks and planes get to shoot at the withdrawing force. The withdrawing player’s planes get to shoot at the non-withdrawing player’s force. Germany’s blitzkrieg technology allows its tanks and planes to fire at double their land combat value when it is the non-withdrawing player.

    Naval combat is similar to the above, but with some differences which I won’t get into right now. The main point I want to bring up is that units have both anti-naval and anti-sub combat values. Suppose you score two anti-naval hits and one anti-sub hit in a naval combat. You have two choices: 1) apply both anti-naval hits to surface ships. 2) apply one anti-naval hit to a surface ship, and one anti-sub hit to a sub. In other words, each anti-sub hit you use uses up an anti-naval hit.

    Most air and sea units have higher anti-naval combat values than anti-sub combat values. This means that if you’re going against a pure sub force, some of your anti-naval hits will be wasted. Your battleships will be completely useless in that kind of fight, because they have no anti-sub value at all! Nor (for that matter) will battleships be of much use if your enemy attacks you with subs + planes. But if he sends surface ships after you as well, your battleships will be a rock solid part of your combat force!

    The best units to use against enemy subs are destroyers and (to a lesser degree) torpedo bombers and cruisers. Destroyers actually have a higher anti-sub value than anti-naval value, thereby allowing you to utilize some of your other anti-naval hits which would otherwise have been wasted.


  • I guess my next big question would be about Industrialization and when countries get it and how they get it?

    I like that destroyers get anti-sub bonuses and not so much battleships.  This actually reflects how often we saw big cruisers and early aircraft carriers being taken out by subs like the Hood and hits on USS Saratoga and Ark Royal.  Dedicated anti-sub warfare units like destroyers makes sense and they did not mount the larger guns, thereby they wouldn’t perform well in actual naval combat.

    Also, how do you do naval combat itself?  Can you do air strikes against non-carrier forces like battleships and battle cruisers with impunity from a distance?  How well do these ships defend against air attacks if they have no aircraft of their own to put in the skies over a naval confrontation?  Also, can shore based air units be brought into naval battles?  I guess I am kind of asking about the map itself.  In Axis and Allies, ocean spaces are huge in some areas, whereas some games simply uses hexagons to represent distance.  How do you work distance into unit movement?  Can a strategic bomber fly from Berlin to Los Angeles or can West Coast-based land aircraft be used in a naval battle in the Coral Sea?  And, what about Kamikaze attacks?  Can air units fly their max distance and not return?

    And lastly, for this post, what are the special advantages of each nation?  I am curious what you gave China.


  • @Epiphany:

    I guess my next big question would be about Industrialization and when countries get it and how they get it?

    I like that destroyers get anti-sub bonuses and not so much battleships.  This actually reflects how often we saw big cruisers and early aircraft carriers being taken out by subs like the Hood and hits on USS Saratoga and Ark Royal.  Dedicated anti-sub warfare units like destroyers makes sense and they did not mount the larger guns, thereby they wouldn’t perform well in actual naval combat.

    Also, how do you do naval combat itself?  Can you do air strikes against non-carrier forces like battleships and battle cruisers with impunity from a distance?  How well do these ships defend against air attacks if they have no aircraft of their own to put in the skies over a naval confrontation?  Also, can shore based air units be brought into naval battles?  I guess I am kind of asking about the map itself.  In Axis and Allies, ocean spaces are huge in some areas, whereas some games simply uses hexagons to represent distance.  How do you work distance into unit movement?  Can a strategic bomber fly from Berlin to Los Angeles or can West Coast-based land aircraft be used in a naval battle in the Coral Sea?  And, what about Kamikaze attacks?  Can air units fly their max distance and not return?

    And lastly, for this post, what are the special advantages of each nation?  I am curious what you gave China.

    Once again you’ve asked a lot of good questions! 🙂

    Production units (PUs) are used to buy military units. Your PU income comes from three sources: territory value, resource gather points (RGPs), and cities. RGPs and cities can be upgraded by spending EUs. The more you upgrade them, the more PU income they produce. The problem is that EUs aren’t just used to upgrade your cities and RGPs. They’re also used for research. The faster your industrialization effort is, the slower your research effort will be. It’s all about striking a balance between unit quality (research) and unit quantity (industrialization).

    Naval combat is as follows. Step 1: dogfight phase. All aircraft and ships present in the battle fire at their air combat value. Hits are applied to air units, and destroyed air units are removed from play. Step 2: main combat. All air units, ships, and subs fire at their naval combat value and at their anti-sub combat value. Anti-naval hits are applied to surface ships, and anti-sub hits are applied to subs. However, for every anti-sub hit you apply to a sub, you must use up one of your anti-naval hits. Destroyed units are removed from play. After the third combat round or later, either side may choose to withdraw from combat.

    A battleship has a naval combat value of 4, an air combat value of 1.2, and 22 hitpoints. It costs 28 PUs. Against this, a basic torpedo bomber has a naval combat value of 2, 2 hitpoints, and costs 10 PUs. But an advanced torpedo bomber has 4 hitpoints, a naval combat value of 4, and still only costs 10 PUs. For the cost of 20 PUs, two advanced torpedo bombers could take away 1/3 of the battleship’s hitpoints each combat round. At a cost of 28 PUs, the battleship would be able to take away 1/7 of the advanced torpedo bombers’ hitpoints each combat round. Battleships are a lot more obsolete against late game torpedo bombers than early game torpedo bombers.

    In answer to your questions about the map: the map itself hasn’t been designed yet. That said, heavy strategic bombers have a range of 10, and non-strategic bombers are typically limited to a range of 4 or (in some cases) 6. I plan on the map being relatively large–perhaps about 50% more territories and sea zones than Anniversary Edition. My hope is that people will make their own maps to go with this rules set.

    No kamikaze flights are allowed. I thought about making an exception to this rule for Japan, but decided doing so would complicate the rules set.

    Speaking of Japan . . . below is a list of each nation’s special advantages.

    Japan. Chinese collaborators. For every two Chinese territories Japan controls during its collect income phase, it receives a free infantry. Limit two free infantry per turn.

    WWI style combat techniques. Japanese infantry receive -0.3 to their land combat value.

    Yamato battleship. Japanese battleships have a naval combat value of 8, an air combat value of 1.6, 32 hitpoints, and cost 36 PUs.

    Kate. Japanese torpedo bombers receive +2 to their naval combat value and +1 to their hitpoints.

    Delayed aircraft research. Japan may not research piston engines level 2 until round 3.

    Zero. Japan’s fighters cost 7 PUs each. Once upgraded to improved fighters they will cost 9 PUs; and will cost 10 PUs each when upgraded to advanced fighters.

    Bootstraps. During the industrialize phase, Japan receives six free upgrades for its cities. This benefit lasts the first five turns of the game. In addition, Japan receives a free advance in Industrial Technology on its second turn, and another advance on its fourth turn.

    Unique technology available for Japan to research:

    Advanced long lance torpedoes. Adds +0.8 to the naval combat value of your submarines and cruisers, and +0.4 to the naval combat value of your destroyers. Cost: 3 EUs.

    Late war research effort. (May not be researched until round 5.) Japan may build a research center in Tokyo. This research center has 40 hitpoints, and may not be targeted unless Tokyo has been destroyed. This research center produces 5 EUs a turn. Cost: 5 EUs.

    Japan starts with light tanks level 1 tech. It may research light tanks through level 5. After it’s researched light tanks level 4, it’s also allowed to research medium tanks level 1. However, it would have to work its way up a good portion of the medium tanks tech tree before medium tanks would represent a better bang for its buck than light tanks level 5. Unless it’s engaged in a large scale land war, it might want to use “good enough for now” light tanks, while using the EUs it saves on industrialization or non-tank research.

    Japan can research undersea tech levels 1 and 2, giving it the second-highest technological ceiling for its subs of any nation in the game. (Germany has the highest ceiling due to its Type XXI U-boats.) Japan’s ceiling for its artillery research is lower than that of any other major power. (Unless you want to call China a major power!) Japan also has the worst starting level of industrial technology, and the lowest ceiling on its industrial technology. The better your industrial technology, the higher the ceiling is on the amount you’re allowed to upgrade your cities and RGPs.

    China

    Units available for production: light infantry, artillery, fighter.

    Technology:

    Devastation: cities under Chinese control do not generate EUs until turn 5.

    Solidarity: for every territory in Kwangtung or Manchuria China controls during its collect income phase, it receives an additional manpower point.

    Unlimited manpower: Chinese infantry units do not experience any cost increase in manpower points.

    The unlimited manpower technology needs a little explaining. The rules state that the manpower cost of all infantry units is quadrupled after turn 4. If, for example, an infantry had cost 1 PU and 1 MP on turn 4, it would cost 1 PU and 4 MPs on turn 5. The only use for MPs is to buy infantry with them, so you may as well keep buying as many infantry as possible. You’ll just have a lot fewer new infantry starting on turn 5. China does not have this problem.

    Custom technology available for China to research: upgraded infantry training and morale. Chinese light infantry now have two hitpoints. Cost: 5 EUs.

    General tech available for research: artillery level 3, light tanks level 1.

    U.K.

    Cooperation: British trains may travel through American territory as though it was British territory.

    Code breaking: British fighters receive +0.5 to their air combat value.

    Focused bombing effort: British strategic bombers may only land in British or American territory. They may not be donated to the Soviets via Lend-Lease.

    Bletchley Park. The U.K. has a research centre in London. It produces 5 EUs a turn, has 40 hitpoints, and may not be targeted unless London has been destroyed.

    Custom technology available for the UK to research:

    Firefly (may not be researched before round 6). British medium tanks receive +1.5 to their land combat value. Cost: 4 EUs.

    Centurion tank Mk 2. (May not be researched before round 8.) British battle tanks receive +2 to hitpoints. Cost: 4 EUs.

    Britain’s jet technology has the second-highest ceiling after Germany’s. Together with the United States, Britain’s artillery technological ceiling is the highest in the game. It has a good head start in radar and sonar tech. The ceiling on its battle tanks tech is good and high; though it’s not certain that Britain will be engaged in enough land wars to justify the pain of getting that tech. It may be better off making do with “good enough” medium tanks, especially with the Firefly tech available to it. Like American ships, British ships can be upgraded to have significantly better anti-air combar values than Soviet or Axis ships.

    This is probably enough for one post. I’ll have to do the other nations later.


  • That all sounds blood awesome!  You clearly spent a lot of time working out the details and they sound really cool.

    At the end of your post you were mentioning that British ships can get higher anti-aircraft tech than Soviet or Axis ships.  Does each nation have specific tech limits for all technologies available?  And are there land-based anti-aircraft technologies? If so, how does Germany stack up?  You mentioned in previous posts about the “big deal” that aircraft represent in the game, so having or not having technology related to shooting stuff down seems important.

    How do aircraft carriers work?  Do they come with their own assigned aircraft, or can you field upgraded naval air units?  Or would that merely upgrade the aircraft carrier itself?  So many games, the aircraft carrier, and all ships in general, are just simple units with simple stats.  Are there light carriers, escort carriers and fleet carriers with varying stats for each country?  Can any country build them?  Could Germany for instance, field a massive carrier fleet?

    You said China produces no EU’s for the first 5 turns.  Does this mean China only has what it starts the game with for five turns?  Or does it still have PU’s to build units with?  Also, do you have to spend everything every round or can you accumulate EU’s or PU’s and spend them when you want to?


  • @Epiphany:

    That all sounds blood awesome!  You clearly spent a lot of time working out the details and they sound really cool.

    At the end of your post you were mentioning that British ships can get higher anti-aircraft tech than Soviet or Axis ships.  Does each nation have specific tech limits for all technologies available?  And are there land-based anti-aircraft technologies? If so, how does Germany stack up?  You mentioned in previous posts about the “big deal” that aircraft represent in the game, so having or not having technology related to shooting stuff down seems important.

    How do aircraft carriers work?  Do they come with their own assigned aircraft, or can you field upgraded naval air units?  Or would that merely upgrade the aircraft carrier itself?  So many games, the aircraft carrier, and all ships in general, are just simple units with simple stats.  Are there light carriers, escort carriers and fleet carriers with varying stats for each country?  Can any country build them?  Could Germany for instance, field a massive carrier fleet?

    You said China produces no EU’s for the first 5 turns.  Does this mean China only has what it starts the game with for five turns?  Or does it still have PU’s to build units with?  Also, do you have to spend everything every round or can you accumulate EU’s or PU’s and spend them when you want to?

    I’m glad you like what you’ve heard! 🙂

    In answer to your question, there’s a general tech tree, and there are nation-specific techs. Each nation has a list of the techs from the general tech tree it’s allowed to research. For example, Germany can research higher up the infantry part of the tech tree than anyone else; Britain and the U.S. can research higher up the artillery part of the tech tree, and so on.

    In answer to your question about China: its lack of EUs means it cannot research or industrialize early in the game. But it starts with an income of 12 PUs and 10 MPs. Its light infantry cost 1 MP each, so it can buy 10 light infantry a turn, plus 12 PUs a turn of artillery or fighters. In answer to your other question: you don’t have to spend everything every round. Unspent resources get carried over to the next round.

    The primary way to defend against enemy aircraft is with fighter aircraft of your own. Fighters are specialized for one role, and one role only: shooting down enemy planes. Their anti-naval and anti-ground combat values are very limited. If you were engaged in a carrier war, for example, some of the planes on your carriers would probably be fighters (to shoot down enemy aircraft), and some would be torpedo bombers (decent at shooting down enemy aircraft, great at sinking enemy ships). You’d use your fighters to destroy enemy torpedo bombers before they could take out your ships! Or you could use your fighters against the enemy’s fighters, in an effort to protect your own torpedo bomber force.

    You build aircraft separately from aircraft carriers. You can land up to two planes on a normal aircraft carrier, and up to four planes on a fleet carrier. Upgrading your carrier fleet from regular carriers to fleet carriers is relatively straightforward from a technological perspective. However, fleet carriers cost 28 PUs, compared to just 18 for regular carriers. Fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo bombers can land on regular carriers. Fleet carriers can handle these planes as well. In addition, jet fighters and jet fighter-bombers can land on fleet carriers. Strategic bombers and jet flying wings cannot land on any kind of carrier.

    The rules set does not currently contain AA guns as separate playing pieces; though I’m half tempted to add them in. Currently, advances in artillery technology improve the land combat value of your artillery, and give your artillery anti-air combat value as well. If I were to include AA guns, they would be like regular artillery, except with a weaker anti-land combat value, and a better AA value. Unlike Britain and the U.S., Germany cannot research advanced proximity fuse. This means its artillery will not have the same anti-ground or anti-air values that American and British artillery have. But even though Germany’s artillery ceiling is third-best, that ceiling is still good and high.

    Speaking of Germany, below is more of the list I’d promised.

    Germany

    Blood and Iron. German infantry have three hitpoints. (As opposed to two hitpoints for most other nations’ infantry.)

    Blitzkrieg. If Germany is engaged in a land battle, and if its opponent decides to withdraw its land force from that land battle, Germany gets to multiply the land combat value of its tanks and planes by a factor of two when firing on that land force.

    Crush communism. During the collect income phase of each turn, Germany receives a free manpower point for each formerly Soviet territory it controls. (Limit 4 MPs per turn.)

    Fortress Europe. Blockhouses have 4 hitpoints, receive +1 to their land combat value, and cost 3 PUs each.

    Bismarck. Your battleships receive +7 to hitpoints and +2 to their naval combat value.

    Heavy artillery. Your artillery receive +1 to their land combat value.

    Speer’s industrialization. During the industrialize phase, Germany may upgrade seven of its cities for free. In addition, Germany receives one free advancement in Industrial Technology each turn. Speer’s industrialization ceases to provide additional benefits to Germany after the first five turns of the game.

    Goettingen laboratory. Germany has a research center in Hanover. This research center provides 10 EUs a turn, has 40 hitpoints, and may not be targeted unless Hanover has been destroyed.

    Custom technology available for research

    Panther tank (may not be researched before round 2). Researching this tech causes the following to happen. 1) You automatically receive the techs battle tanks level 1 - level 5, even if you do not have the prerequisites for that tech. 2) your battle tanks receive +1 to hitpoints. 3) Each additional battle tank tech costs one less EU to research. Cost: 7 EUs.

    King tiger. (You must have previously researched battle tanks level 7.) Researching this technology causes you to receive the techs heavy tanks level 1 - level 3, even if you do not have the prerequisites. Cost: 4 EUs.

    E-series tanks (may not be researched before round 8.) Medium tanks (E-25s) now cost 4 PUs, battle tanks (E-50s) cost 7 PUs to build, and heavy tanks (E-75s) cost 11 PUs to build. Heavy tanks receive +2 to hitpoints and +1 to land combat value. Cost: 7 EUs.

    Me 262. (May not be researched before round 3.) Researching this technology causes you to receive jet engines levels 1 - 4, jet fighters levels 1 - 7, and jet fighter-bombers levels 1 - 2, even if you lack the prerequisites for these technologies. Cost: 9 EUs.

    Underground factories: it takes 50 hits to reduce one of your cities by one size. Cost: 3 EUs.

    Improved optics (may not be researched before round 7.) Adds +0.5 to the land combat value of German infantry, +1 to the land combat value of German artillery and medium tanks, +2 to the land combat value of German battle tanks, and +4 to the land combat value of German heavy tanks. Cost: 5 EUs.

    Infrared illumination and targeting. (May not be researched before round 8.) Adds +0.5 to the land combat value of German infantry, +1 to the land combat value of German artillery and medium tanks, +2 to the land combat value of German battle tanks, and +4 to the land combat value of German heavy tanks. Cost: 7 EUs.

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